Priya Sarukkai Chabria
Sagaing, Myanmar’s Old Capital
A dappled day. Driving up and down hills around pagodas and palaces. Past noon, mauve cloudshadows climb over trees, fields, folds. A restaurant perches on a hill. The restaurateur joins us. ‘ Indian? Do you know the last Indian emperor died in Rangoon, exiled by the British? Then they dethroned our king and imprisoned him in your country.’
His granddaughter knows no Burmese.
The Arabian Sea is all she hears
in Jewel Mountain Palace, Ratnagiri, its salt hiss
seeping through the surrounding mango grove that drips sweet sunset
fruit that’s prized equally for its amber
peel that leaches no aftertaste of sap’s acerbity or bark’s bitterness
when it is sucked and pulled
having lost its taste
for memory, language, soil
From broken instruments
the soun’s plucked notes and pattalar’s tinkle
drift over a moonlit indigo sea.
PRIYA SARUKKAI CHABRIA is a translator, writer and poet nominated for the 2017 Pushcart Prize. Her books include speculative fiction, cross-genre non-fiction, a novel, two poetry collections and translations of Tamil mystic Andal The Autobiography of a Goddess , in collaboration with Ravi Shankar. Awarded for Outstanding Contribution to Literature by the Indian Government, her work is included in many international anthologies including Another English: Anglophone Poems from Around the World, Asymptote, A Book of Bhakti Poetry: Eating God, Adelphiana, Caravan, Drunken Boat, I Q, Post Road, The Literary Review(USA), The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry, South Asian Review, PEN International, The British Journal of Literary Translation , Language for a New Century etc. and is widely translated. She edits Poetry at Sangam. http://poetry.sangamhouse.org/ www.priyawriting.com